The Time I Let My Poker Face Slip

Yesterday I made a devastating parenting mistake.

Tim and I were sitting in the shade in his brother’s backyard, sipping cold drinks and reading. Beautiful summer morning. The boys were playing on a slip-n-slide a ways off. A peaceful moment.

We had no idea what was coming.


Pile o’ worms

Now here’s the thing about my boys: They love bugs. They are constantly catching bugs and creepy crawly things. This doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I’ll even help them.

We’ve caught ladybugs, worms, lizards, even snakes together.


Have you ever seen anyone so in love with a snake?

There have only been a few occasions where they’ve stuck something right under my nose (literally) that has horrified me, and I’ve managed to keep my cool and breathe slowly until they take it away.

I have a pretty good poker face. This comes from years of youth ministry of all sorts. I can usually hear or see something outrageous and not react. This is a useful parenting skill. As long as you can keep your kids from surprising you, you keep the upper hand.

So. Back to yesterday.

Our blissful reverie was interrupted by our two children running over yelling. Big Brother had something clutched tight in his butterfly net, and Little Guy was proudly yelling that Big Brother caught “a huge spider!”

Before that phrase could even register he shoved the net under our noses and we saw this. IMG_0755

Look closely. That is a big, nasty wolf spider. It was frantically running around its little net space on top of Big Brother’s hand looking for someone to kill.

I immediately screamed and tried to keep from throwing up.

Tim calmly (of course, the man is never ruffled) said, “Umm, buddy, that kind can actually bite. You might want to let that one go.”

At this, Big Brother opened the net and dropped it right where we were sitting.

I screamed and flew out of my chair (I’m extremely pregnant, it usually takes me awhile to move anywhere) and shot across the yard away from the angry spider now bent on revenge.

This is when I realized my mistake.

I let my poker face slip. Not just slip. I destroyed my calm, parenting face.

They can smell fear, you know. I’m talking about the children, not the spider. They saw what makes their mom lose her mind and scream in terror. And they. did. it. They have the power now. If you have boys, you realize how dangerous this is. Boys love to make their moms scream. I think this is considered loving in their minds? And I freely showed them what I’m most afraid of.

What have I done?

If you are a mom of boys, can you relate? I want to hear about it.


8 thoughts on “The Time I Let My Poker Face Slip

  1. clev1993

    I hate to break it to you, but girls like to find their Mama’s weaknesses too! My daughter is always trying to see if she can scare me. Most of the time she doesn’t succeed, but every now and then, this poker face forged in the fires of the ED slips too:>)

  2. allthoughtswork

    Oh, come on, that’s the tiniest wolf spider I’ve ever seen. I grew up in Iowa, where wolf spiders duel with Samurai swords.

    Brace yourself.

    My mother likes to tell the tale of how she was roused from a deep sleep one night by something heavy on her hand. Yup, you guessed it: A wolf spider three inches across, just enjoying the warmth of her writing paw. I never heard the end of that story, probably something involving the poor spider learning to fly against its will.

    Look on the bright side: All you got is wolfies and a few widows. We have Brown Recluse here in the Pacific Northwest, the stuff of skin grafts and memorial services. But that’s still less painful than I-25 after a Broncos game….

    1. The Dependent Life Post author

      Oh my gosh, this whole comment cracks me up! Well played, with the I-25 comment, well played.
      I grew up in IA too, we had a big one that lived in our basement for awhile (not sure if it had a sword or not, I avoided that area for months while he squatted down there). They’re hard to evict, and they won’t pay rent.
      Your dear mother, oh my, I would die.
      It’s debatable whether we have Brown Recluse or not. Some swear we do, some swear we don’t.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Lisa V

    I have a boy and a girl (who’s not afraid of bugs – actually wants to be an entomologist) and I grew up with brothers. Snakes (had ’em), frogs (caught ’em), lizards (had ’em and caught ’em)…but wolf spider! Now that’s scary! And I’m the one called in to rescue people from spiders in my house. Glad no one was hurt. But you can already bet the boys are on the hunt for the next thing to make you jump! LOL Good luck!

    1. The Dependent Life Post author

      Ha! I’m definitely not the spider killer in this house. And I know they’re not poisonous, but I still assume they always have death on their minds. Thanks for commenting!


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